It’s an old saying. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times – you’re insane, please stop ruining my life.
I’ve railed on Chan Gailey’s play calling in previous posts but today was special. Somehow, Gailey managed to outdo himself. Nursing a six-point lead, the Bills had the ball at their own 37-yard line with just under four minutes to play. For reasons we’ll never know, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw the ball. After destroying the Titans on the ground all day, the Bills were throwing in their own territory with the lead. The pass was intercepted. Of course it was.
Up to that point the offense did their part. Unfortunately the defense couldn’t build on a solid performance in Arizona. Sorry, that’s being charitable. The defense was pathetic. Dave Wannstedt reverted to his rush four – zone coverage scheme that got him run out of every coaching job he’s ever had. If it didn’t work at the University of Pittsburgh why try it in the NFL? Clearly the coaching staff – and fans – overestimated the skill on the defensive line. Marcell Dareus had his worst game in a Bills uniform. Mario Williams…I’m not going to waste your time talking about Mario Williams. Chris Kelsay makes me weep.
George Wilson’s transformation from wide receiver to safety was a feel good story a couple years ago, but he’s not starting caliber. By my count Wilson was lost in coverage seven times, staring into the backfield while Nate Washington, Kenny Britt & Co. sat down in the middle. The linebacker corps is woefully inadequate. We’re asking a rookie – Nigel Bradham – to cover for six-year vets. Kelvin Sheppard can’t cover, Shawne Merriman is a non-factor, and Nick Barnett can’t cover – that sounds familiar.
This isn’t completely Wannstedt’s fault, but the majority of the venom being spewed by Bills fans after this loss should be directed at him. Feel free to like one of the dozen ‘fire Dave Wannstedt‘ facebook pages that were created as Chris Johnson revitalized his sputtering career with help from a defense that would’ve been carved up by Ricky Ray.
The positives: Fred Jackson and C.J Spiller continue to thrive in spite of the idiots on the coaching staff. I wasn’t a fan of the two series rotation plan – ride the hot hand – but it proved effective. Fitzpatrick looked competent thanks to numerous screen plays that required him to throw the ball two yards. In general Fitz was good. Finally we saw some of the same chemistry he had with Stevie Johnson early last season.
That’s it. Frankly, I feel ill. The losses against New England and San Francisco are nothing compared to seeing your team snatch defeat from the jaws of victory thanks to a woefully incompetent coaching staff. Nick Powell makes me miss Brian Moorman. On the Titans’ final scoring drive Chan Gailey watched from the sidelines as time ticked off the clock. On the Bills final possession the first two plays were completed for all of eight freaking yards. Gailey didn’t throw the challenge flag when it appeared Washington fumbled in the fourth quarter – clearly he has a vendetta against timeouts, because what’s there to lose in challenging?
3-4. After today the Bills will remain one game out of first place in the AFC East. They’ll also continue to employ the worst coaches in the NFL. For normal franchises – read: winning franchises – heads would roll after a loss like today (or last week, or the week before). We’re not normal. The Buffalo Bills are poison, killing everything in its path. Make it stop.
Losing gracefully was never our thing.